Fitch defensive lineman Billy Price has been named the Division I Defensive Player of the Year after leading Fitch to the playoffs and a 9-2 overall finish. Price is verbally committed to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Warren Harding running back LeShun Daniels also earns first team honors as a running back. Daniels rushed for over 14-hundred yards in helping lead the Raiders to the postseason. Daniels is verbally committed to play for the Boston College Eagles.
Fellow Raiders standout Jayln Powell also earned first team honors for his work as defensive back. Powell is verbally committed to play for the Michigan State Spartans.
Below is the complete list of All-Ohio selections in Division I.
The 2012 Associated Press Division I All-Ohio high school football team, based on the recommendations of a state media panel:
Elyria defensive end and future Ohio State Buckeye Tracy Sprinkle continues to add to his postseason accolades after the Associated Press named him the 2012 Division I Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
He was named the D-I Northeast Ohio All-Lake District Defensive Player of the Year and won the Lorain County Golden Helmet award earlier this month.
“It’s another great accolade in my life,” Sprinkle said. “Right after I heard it, I said a prayer just thanking God, thanking him for all of his blessings. It feels wonderful.”
Sprinkle, one of the stars of a Pioneers team finished 7-3 this season, shared the award with Cincinnati Moeller’s Shane Jones and Austintown Fitch’s Billy Price, who will also go to OSU along with Sprinkle.
“That’s a great thing knowing we’ve got some top guys in Ohio going down to Columbus,” Sprinkle said. “I feel we can get down there and get after it early.”
Sprinkle had 19 sacks and 103 tackles as a senior. He will enroll at Ohio State in January.
Joining Sprinkle on the first-team All-Division I was teammate Connor Kamczyc and Avon Lake defensive back Jimmy Hessel. Elyria’s Dan Ratliff was a third-team selection, and Avon Lake’s Kyle Kuhar and Lorain’s Aaron Neal each received special mention.
Sprinkle felt a couple of his teammates besides Kamczyc and Ratliff were snubbed from the list.
“I feel personally that we had a lot of other guys that should have been on the list,” he said. “It’s a great thing knowing that my fellow friends Danny and Connor made it. I knew Connor had a great season also. He’s only a junior, too. So I feel he has a bright future. And a lot of our guys for our team have a bright future as well.”
When St. Thomas Aquinas takes the field Friday for its regional final against Boyd Anderson, the Raiders will be without Joey Bosa, one of their top defensive players and one of the nation's top recruits.
On Monday, Justin Harrison, the Florida High School Athletic Association's Assistant Executive Director for Athletic Services, confirmed via e-mail to the Sun Sentinel that Bosa, an Ohio State commit, will be suspended for one game after committing a flagrant personal foul late in St. Thomas' 38-7 regional semifinal win over Plantation.
St. Thomas Aquinas athletic director George Smith said the school is not planning to appeal the suspension.
Beech High junior Jalen Hurd had to get another suit to wear to Monday’s BlueCross Bowl Media Day in Murfreesboro.
It’s in that suit that he joined the list of Tennessee Titans Mr. Football winners, receiving the Class AAA Back honor and becoming the first Beech High School player to do so.
His mother, Tara Smotherman, said he had a suit from last year, but “unfortunately, it was a little small.”
Hurd said he didn’t have big expectations to win the award as a junior, but was all smiles once he was announced as the winner.
“It’s just unreal to be given this honor with all the great players who have won it before,” Hurd said. “My teammates deserve it just as much.”
Hurd was nominated along with Siegel quarterback Brent Stockstill and Whitehaven running back Mark Dodson, both seniors, for the award.
“It’s exciting to be up there with (Hurd),” Stockstill said. “He’s put up unreal numbers and he’s such a special talent. It’s fun being put in a class with (Hurd and Dodson), because they’ve both had awesome years.”
The Mr. Football award is considered to be a regular season award and voting took place before any postseason games were played. Dodson, an Ole Miss commitment, has rushed for 2,977 yards and 32 touchdowns through the semifinal round. Stockstill, a dual-threat quarterback, finished his season last week, ending with 2,697 yards and 32 touchdowns while also rushing for 650 yards and 10 scores.
Auburn has lost another high-prized commitment from Georgia.
Trey Johnson, a 4-star linebacker from Central Gwinnett High School, de-committed from Auburn on Tuesday, according to his coach.
“In talking with Trey and his dad, they feel like it’s time to de-commit because they don’t even know who Trey is committed to at Auburn (without a new coach hired),” Central Gwinnet coach Todd Wofford told the AJC.
“Trey wanted to be fair to himself, and to be fair to the schools that are recruiting him. It is two months away from signing day, and he’s not in a position where he can wait to see what coach Auburn may hire, what defense they may run, and things like that.
Johnson’s de-commitment doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Ever since Gene Chizik was frequently mentioned as being on the hotseat, Johnson had openly communicated with other colleges.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder went on an official visit this past weekend to Ohio State, which is rumored to be the new frontrunner. Urban Meyer visited Johnson at school two weeks ago.
When asked if Ohio State was Johnson’s leader, his coach said, “That was his first official visit, and Trey had a great time up there.”
The other top contenders are Florida, USC and Penn State. Johnson will take an official visit to Florida on Dec. 15 and to USC on Jan. 18. He is still working out a date with Penn State, and he may save his final visit for Auburn.
Auburn has had shaky relationship with Johnson since he committed to the Tigers two summers ago. A major factor in Johnson selecting Auburn was defensive coordinator Ted Roof, who was not retained after the 2011 season. Then Johnson built another connection with first-year defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, who was part of Chizik’s staff.
La Salle junior wide receiver Derek Kief has five early verbal scholarship offers and is regarded as one of the area’s top football players in the 2014 class.
Kief, who was named an Associated Press first-team all-district selection last week and special mention all-state on Monday, doesn’t need any extra promotion from recruiting sites, but he does have an organized website (derekkief.com) complete with video highlights, stats, quotes, a Twitter feed that tracks media coverage and other information to accompany him along his recruiting journey.
The website is operated by Kief’s uncle, Lance Hart, who gave Derek the site as a Christmas gift last year. Football is part of the family’s history and Hart decided he wanted chronicle Derek’s achievements as sort of a digital scrapbook.
Every post and tweet from the website is from Hart and he says Kief turns away from any extra attention about himself. Hart said Kief is real quiet and very confident in his skills, but let’s his football actions speak on the field.
Hart, a West Side resident who is director of voice implementation services at CBTS, says he tracks the website traffic through Google analytics and notes the spike in numbers after Kief receives an offer. He said some college fans are attentive to the site than the others. “Michigan guys are crazy,” he said in a good-natured way about the fan base.
Hart doesn’t have an added interest in mind for creating a website for other student-athletes nor is he seeking financial gain, but would rather have a keepsake for the family, saying it will provide a “time capsule of data” for Kief and his children one day.
And who could argue with that.
The Tuesday hire of Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops as the University of Kentucky’s new head football coach is good news for the Wildcats’ recruiting efforts, according to high school prospects and coaches.
Stoops received positive reviews, including from some of UK’s 14 Class of 2013 commitments who were reached for interviews, as an assistant from a powerhouse program and a member of a famous coaching family.
Stoops’ ability to recruit in talent-rich Florida could be critical to the Cats’ chances of moving up in the Southeastern Conference.
Miami Central High School coach Telly Lockette said Stoops was a primary recruiter at his school while on his brother Mike’s staff at Arizona and had previously built recruiting ties in South Florida while an assistant at the University of Miami.
Since he’s been at FSU, he’s made occasional stops by Central, and Lockette said he also enjoyed talking with Stoops at the Seminoles’ football camps.
“I think it’s a tremendous job (by UK) bringing in a guy who has been at Miami and Florida State, so he knows the state,” Lockette said. “That’s not to say Joker Phillips didn’t know the state, but I think he’ll do an excellent job.”
Lockette said he wouldn’t be surprised if Stoops’ new staff comes to check out players soon at Central, which produced former UK running back Brandon Gainer. Three-star defensive back Da’wan Hunte, who has been committed to North Carolina State, is reexamining his recruitment after the Wolfpack fired its coach.
Ohio State's relationship with Sam Mustipher continues to grow.
When he was just a freshman, the junior offensive guard from Olney (Md.) Good Counsel received one of his first scholarship offers from the Buckeyes, along with offers from Tulane, Illinois and North Carolina State.
"It was definitely humbling," Mustipher said of the early interest. "I knew going into this high school I would be surrounded by some talented guys.
Ohio State’s full-court press for Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) continued Tuesday when assistant coach Zach Smith popped into the ESPN Watch List junior’s school to check in on the 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive end.
The visit came on the heels of Hand’s unofficial visit to Columbus on Saturday, where he saw the Buckeyes complete an undefeated season with a 26-21 win over Michigan.
“He asked if I enjoyed the visit and what I thought of the game,” Hand said. “The visit shows they really care."
Kentucky's hiring of Mark Stoops could potentially shake up Ryan Timmons' recruitment.
For weeks, it has seemed likely that the No. 2-rated undecided prospect in Kentucky would end up at Ohio State. He has visited Columbus often and will take an official visit to Ohio State in January so his mother can see the school. Stoops' hiring, however, has Timmons intrigued.
"Good," the four-star prospect from Frankfort (Ky.) Franklin said when asked what he thought about the hiring. "Glad it's over. [I'll] try and get ahold of him."
Two days after the announcement that Auburn had fired head coach Gene Chizik, the Tigers have lost their second commitment in the 2013 class. According to Central Gwinnett head coach Todd Wofford, ESPN 150 linebacker Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett) is reopening his recruitment.
"Trey is going to decommit from Auburn today," Wofford said. "Trey wants to be fair to himself and to the teams that he has interest in. He isn't going to address Auburn until they name a coach."
Johnson took his first official visit over the weekend to Ohio State. Upon his return, he did not want to discussion the situation at Auburn.
There were no new commitments following Ohio State’s 26-21 win over Michigan on Saturday, but there were recruits being swayed as much as the flag poles atop The Horseshoe.
After combing over more than 20 storylines from the top-notch recruits attending the game, BuckeyeNation has come up with a top five:
1. Visit brings Ohio State closer for Quick: James Quick almost got caught up in the excitement. Then, he thought better of committing to Ohio State during his official visit. “I had a few times where I thought it was the place for me,” the ESPN 150 receiver from Louisville (Ky.) Trinity said as he and his family drove home on Monday. “But I have to look at other places to make sure I’m making the right decision for me.” Quick is rated the No. 10 receiver in the country and No. 98 prospect overall. “It was fun,” the four-star prospect said of the Columbus visit. “I enjoyed myself." -- Dave Hooker